It is thought that bracelets first became popular in Egypt at around 5000 BCE and from then, the history of bracelets has followed an interesting journey. From Greek soldiers who wore leather bracelets to protect their wrists during battle to bangles that have formed an important part of marriage ceremonies throughout some of the world's diverse cultures. Bracelets have been a popular adornment for both women and men throughout the ages, and we'll cover a range of options for you to learn about in this article, including:
- Chain bracelets
- Tennis bracelets
- String bracelets
- Charm bracelets
- T-bar bracelets
- Beaded bracelets
- Cuff bracelets
- Pearl bracelets
- Slider bracelets
Possibly the most popular type of bracelet. It's made from a series of links, usually made of precious metal. Each link could be the same size, creating a uniform and timeless chain, or could be formed of varying shaped and sized links creating a more modern and contemporary look. No matter the construction, this simple bracelet design is a timeless classic.
How to Wear Chain Bracelets
This timeless piece is one of the most versatile types of bracelets you can select. They come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold, rose gold and platinum which make them perfect for many different coloured outfits.
Chain bracelets work well with both formal and casual outfits. A lightweight chain bracelet would perfectly compliment an evening gown and bring a hint of class to an outfit, while a chunkier or irregular chain bracelet would bring a casual summer dress or white t-shirt and jeans look to life.
We recommend investing in a few different types of chain bracelets with varying colours and weights. Over time, and with careful selection, you'll be sure to have a chain bracelet to match every outfit and occasion.
Another classy and popular bracelet is the classic bangle. It's made from a solid piece of metal and forms a consistent and unbroken circle, oval or contemporary rounded shape. Usually made of precious metal like gold, silver or platinum, it's another simple bracelet design which works in a range of different settings.
How to Wear Bangles
Bangles are versatile, bold and work perfectly worn as part of a grouped bracelet stack. They come in a wide range of different metals which make them ideal for many different coloured outfits from a little black dress, to a striking colourful garment paring.
Bangle bracelets work well with both formal and casual outfits. A lightweight bangle would elevate any evening attire, while a stack of different bangles would give a casual outfit some edge. Chunky bangles are also fun to play around with and can work really well dressed up or down.
We recommend investing in a small range of thin, medium weight and chunky bangles in a variety of different coloured metals and gemstones. This way, you can play around with casual stacked looks and timeless and classy single bangles to compliment every outfit.
Possibly the most opulent of all the bracelets, the tennis bracelet is an absolute classic. Gemstones are the hero of this design, usually featuring diamonds encrusted around the entire circle, you'll be sure to turn some heads!
How to Style a Tennis Bracelet
This classic piece is totally stand out. They come in a wide range of different metals like gold, rose gold, white gold and platinum which make them perfect for many different coloured outfits. Usually featuring white diamonds, although you can find tennis bracelets with a contemporary twist, as seen above!
Tennis bracelets work well with formal outfits, but can be dressed down if you do it right. Lightweight in design, they compliment an evening look perfectly and will 100% help to bring some drama and glamour to your evening. But can also work with a casual understated dress too.
We recommend investing in a good quality tennis bracelet which will last many lifetimes. These are the perfect heirloom piece so you should see them as a special investment which can be passed down to your future generations. Read our article for An Expert Guide - What is Heirloom Jewellery?
From flashy to ultra casual, the string bracelet has to be your go-to for a beach day. Made up of string (no surprises there) and fabric type materials, it often features metal elements like a clasp, caps and charms.
How to Wear String Bracelets
This laid-back piece is a fun and playful bracelet choice. They come in a wide range of different materials, colours and textures so are perfect for lots of outfits and occasions.
String bracelets work well for casual outfits and are perfect for a day at the beach, or a city break getaway. This lightweight bracelet would perfectly compliment a casual summer dress or shorts and t-shirt. Be careful that you're considering colour when selecting your outfit to make sure all of the different tones compliment each other.
We recommend being bold and inventive when wearing string bracelets. They're usually quite affordable, so mix and match and have fun with them. They can be worn with other bracelets, but make sure you don't overcomplicate things, as they can tangle, especially with chains.
We absolutely love charm bracelets. Made up of a simple chain, the heroes of this item are the charms which are connected to different links along the chain. Again, these are fantastic heirloom pieces, and can tell the story of a person or family as new charms can be added over many years.
How to Wear Charm Bracelets
This piece is one of the most interesting types of bracelets you can select. They're usually made of sterling silver, but can come in other metals like gold, rose gold and platinum.
Charm bracelets work well with more casual outfits as they're quite busy but can also be worn in formal settings, if paired with simple outfits. They are the perfect piece to wear for a special occasion as they usually have sentimental importance and can be a reminder of important people who are no longer with the wearer.
If there isn't a charm bracelet in your family, we highly recommend investing in a classic silver chain and starting to build one. Over time, you can add to it and create a story of your life, the places you've visited and the milestones you've celebrated.
Want to learn How To Style Silver Jewellery?
The T-bar bracelet is an edgy accompaniment to any outfit and is all about the clasp. Made of chain, it features a long bar which loops through a circular ring at the opposite side to create a simple yet interesting bracelet.
How to Wear T-bar Bracelets
The t-bar bracelet is a great all rounder. Similar to the classic chain bracelet, it's a really versatile option. They come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold, rose gold and platinum which make them perfect for a wide variety of outfits.
T-bar bracelets work well with casual outfits but can also be dressed up. Many are made of a medium to chunky chain which works brilliantly with a casual white t-shirt and jeans look and bring a hint of contemporary androgyny. For an evening outfit, we'd advise opting for a more lightweight chain so that the bracelet doesn't overpower your other elements.
We recommend investing in a few different types of t-bar bracelets with varying colours and weights. Ideally, start out with a contemporary piece, like the one you see above!
What's not to love with a beaded bracelet? They're most often made of a continuous chain of colourful beads, strung together with metal or plastic wire, or sometimes strong thread.
We love this playful beaded bracelet from Liberty London
How to Wear Beaded Bracelets
These are laid-back pieces, similar to sting bracelets and are a fun choice which can liven up and outfit. They come in a wide range of different materials such as glass, plastic and precious and semi-precious gemstones. They also come in a magnificent selection of colours and styles so are perfect for lots of outfits and occasions.
Glass beaded bracelets work well for casual outfits and are perfect for a summer BBQ while gemstone beaded bracelets work well for more formal outfits that are crying out for a pop of colour. Be careful that you're considering colour when selecting your outfit to make sure all of the different tones compliment each other.
We recommend having fun with beaded bracelets. Try and pick a few different types, so you have something to work with, no matter the occasion. They can be worn alongside other bracelets, but ensure you don't overwhelm the beaded look with heavy bangles or cuffs as the finer details will likely be overlooked.
Cuff bracelets are bold and unapologetic. Made of a rigid and chunky piece of metal and often featuring interesting patterns, textures or forms, they demand attention and steal the show.
How to Wear Cuff Bracelets
The cuff bracelet is a total show stopper and can be worn alone confidetly, with no other jewellery. They come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold and rose gold which make them perfect for a wide variety of outfits.
Cuff bracelets work well when you're getting all dressed up for a night out. With so much beautiful metal, they catch the light well, bringing drama and finesse to your outfit as you're dancing the night away under the glitzy lights!
We recommend not holding back when selecting your cuff bracelets. Don't be scared of playing on the edge of your comfort zone - more is more with these babies!
Want to learn about How to Wear Statement Jewellery?
What's more classic that a pearl bracelet? Whether done traditionally or with a contemporary twist, you can't go far wrong with a string of pearls.
How to Wear Pearl Bracelets
This classic piece will always be a firm favourite for us. There are now many different types of pearls to pick from, freshwater, akoya and tahitian to name a few. They come in a range of beautiful colours so can be the perfect addition to lots of different coloured outfits.
Pearl bracelets work well with formal outfits, but can be dressed down too for a casual yet elegant look. Simple in design, they compliment an evening look perfectly and will help to bring your outfit together and can also work with a casual understated shirt and trousers.
We recommend investing in a good quality pearl bracelet which will last many lifetimes. These are yet another perfect heirloom piece so do some research into pearls to make sure you make the most of your investment. Pearl bracelets can be passed down to your future generations and should be restrung when they become loose.
Sliders come in many different designs, and the common feature is a dual clasp which allows the chain or thread to move through the holes. There's resistance as the bracelet ends move through the holes of the clasp meaning that you can tighten the bracelet to any size, making it a comfortable bracelet for many people, no matter the size of your wrist.
Don't you love this unusual take on a slider bracelet from pdpaola?
How to Wear Slider Bracelets
This bracelet comes in many different materials from precious metal chain and gemstones, to more relaxed and casual materials like glass beads and colourful threads. They range from formal to ultra casual so are perfect for lots of outfits and occasions.
Colourful slider bracelets work well for casual outfits like a summer dress or shorts and t-shirt. While more formal sliders made of gold and silver would be perfect for formal occasions like a job interview or an evening meal with the in-laws.
We recommend taking a look at the other bracelets in your collection before deciding if you'd like to get a formal or casual slider 1st. It's always best to look at your jewellery collection as a whole when you're thinking in buying a new piece, because often you'll spot a little gap that you can then fill to make sure you've always got the perfect piece for all occasions and outfits.
Duxford Studios creates ethical handmade jewellery inspired by the human form, modern culture, and the sensation of touch. All of our pieces are cast from hand carved wax in recycled sustainable sterling silver, gold vermeil, and other precious metals. Shop our full collection on our website or get in contact about a custom jewellery design commission. Need help choosing a piece? Read our full guide on what to look for when buying jewellery on our blog page.